A Stolen Life

The topic of A Stolen Life is the abduction and subsequent treatment of Jaycee Dugard by her captors Philip and Nancy Garrido. Jaycee was stolen in 1991 at age eleven and lived in the harsh conditions of captivity for eighteen years. She regained her freedom in 2009 after experiencing the most traumatic events a person could face. Not only was Jaycee sexually abused and raped (giving unconsented birth at age 14), but she also came to depend on her captors for food, shelter, and worst of all, companionship. The story chronicles the time she spent in the backyard of the Garrido’s house, including the numerous pets and jobs that were given to her. A common subtopic that ran throughout the book was her mistrust and struggle of adapting to the outside world. Jaycee had not known what life was like growing up normally and left the Garrido’s residence mentally unprepared for what await her in the next step of her life: recovery. The text structure is that of describing her past years intertwined with current “reflections” of what she believes or how she perceives the situation now. There may be one to two chapters of the story with a reflection afterwards.

Many of the chapters have repetitive features as life in the Garrido’s house was routine and monotonous for many years; however, the growth of Jaycee’s character throughout the book makes A Stolen Life an engaging read as you can never know what comes next. She can be a different person from chapter to the next as time flies in memoir.

I rate this book a 4 out of 5. This is because of the more amateur style of writing that Jaycee uses, albeit with a captivating effect on the audience or reader. Dugard also seems to have more childish themes in the story that reflect her age before captivity. These small imperfections are eclipsed by the engaging story of someone rising anew from the ashes of tragedy.

People who are interested in overcoming hardships and inspirational stories should read this book; however, there are parts in the story that have sexual implications that should not be taken too lightly or be read by young children. This is because of the nature of the situation and what happened to Jaycee.